Morale and Discipline in the Royal Navy during the First World War

Morale and Discipline in the Royal Navy during the First World War

by Laura Rowe


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In contrast to the voluminous literature on trench warfare, few scholarly works have been written on how the First World War was experienced at sea. The conditions of war challenged the Royal Navy's position within British national identity and its own service ethos. This challenge took the form of a dialogue, fuelled by fear of civil unrest, between the discourses of paternalism from above and democratism from below. Laura Rowe explores issues of morale and discipline, using the contemporary language of discipline to shed light on key questions of how the service was able to absorb indiscipline with marked success through a subtle web of loyalties, history, ethos, traditions and customs, which were rooted in older notions of service but moulded by the new conditions of total war. In so doing, she provides not only a new methodological framework for understanding morale, but also military discipline and leadership.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108419055
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 08/30/2018
Series: Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare , #54
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Laura Rowe is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Exeter.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Ethos on the eve of war: the foundations of paternalism and democratism; 2. The structure of discipline and the spectre of indiscipline; 3. 'Addressing' pay and conditions; 4. Lower-deck societies, trade unions, and representation; 5. Counting unrest; Conclusion; Bibliography.

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